In reaching out to others, I’d hoped to share some humorous and creative ways that we have found to adapt to our new teaching methods. Thanks to the folks who have shared their ideas and anecdotes.
From Barbara Gogan, Sudbury:
I don't have any students in person--they are all remote. When trying to talk to my students through opening a ‘New Tab’, I have found out not all second-graders know the difference between "x" and "+". So, instead of joining class, many of them close their Google Meet tab instead.
From Anna Bognolo, Eaglebrook:
My school is open for full-time F2F everything (we are a boarding and day school). I am following ALA recommendations for libraries during Covid so all of my shelves are blocked off.
My library is open throughout the day/seven days a week. I work Monday-Friday 8-4:30. To make things as "normal" as possible, I've set up the following:
- Printed Book Request Forms and book delivery
- Digital Book Request Form (Google Forms) with access on Library's web page and delivery
- Zoom sessions for readers advisory/book recommendations
- "Book Browsing Cart": a selection of books by genre, always available in the library with self-checkout form (students only need to add their name and place ticket in an envelope taped to the cart). Books and genres swapped out every other week. Faculty are able to take book browsing carts to their classrooms for free-read selection. Counselors are also able to take the book cart to meetings with individual students.
With space re-configurations and changes in teaching areas, Cindy “relocated” her elementary school’s collection to her basement! This temporary storage allows her ‘easy access’ to materials for her classes, where she is totally mobile. In fact, her daily assortment of library books is housed… in her car trunk! That’s keeping it handy!
Job-Alike Zooms for all-level support
However, stress does not always make it easy to find humor or comfort in our positions. Many of us have benefited from the support of our colleagues, most notably through the “job-alike” zooms which began back in Spring.
In response to specific needs at all levels, several insightful librarians began school-levelled “virtual” groups back at the start of COVID: Sara Ravid, Wayland Middle School; Alida Hanson, Weston High School, and Emma Kwon, Weston Elementary School. In response to the need for continued support throughout the summer, Alida, Emma and Laura Gardner arranged for an “All Grades” summer virtual meeting, with varying hosts for the zoom. Thanks to those who hosted those meetings: Sharon Burke, Deeth Ellis, Katie Klein, Donna Phillips and Katherine Steiger.
Interest continued and requests were made so this September, the groups continued, with Emma Kwon (Elementary), Laura Gardner (Dartmouth Middle School), and Ellen Sheehy (Masconomet Regional High School.) If you would like to join into a zoom for your school library level, the current dates and times are being arranged. Watch the MSLA email list for dates and links going forward.
If you are able to help with an Elementary Level, please contact Emma Kwon (firstname.lastname@example.org), as she is looking for a host for the mid-October meeting. Laura Gardner has planned a Middle School Zoom on Wed., Oct. 14th, at 7:00 PM. Use this link for joining the Zoom. And Ellen Sheehy has the High School meeting set for Tuesday, October 20th, at 2:30 PM. (Zoom link will be sent via MSLA email list).
And about the MSLA Listserv…
Once again, I cannot say how invaluable the listserv AND MSLA has been for me over the years. As a newbie in the field (and I started as an aide!), I learned how to gather the information and support I needed to pursue this career. Then, throughout my work at both our elementary and then middle/high school libraries, I saw how the MSLA listserv was my “lifeline”. It’s not going to dissolve your problems when you connect with others, but it will expand your resources for resolving them. So, if this time is one where you are struggling to keep your position intact, working through the night for online/in-person lessons, coordinating your work to follow whatever the most recent guidelines may be…you’re not alone.
Reach out with a question or connect for an idea. The “job-alikes” have been a great success, and are open to all. Now is also the time you’ll be seeing our Area Meetings, so join together with your colleagues. Most meetings will be virtual, so this is a great opportunity to ‘try’ a meeting if you haven’t already done so.
Keep safe and keep smiling (even if it’s behind a mask!).